What is a RHIA Master’s Program?

Careers is health information management (HIM) are already in high demand and poised to grow even further. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for the healthcare information and informatics industries will be more than double the national average for all other types of professions.

But even with the demand, ambitious professionals are advised to take every measure possible to advance their career to higher levels in less time. The surest way to do that is by seeking out the right education early on. A RHIA master’s program is one of the most prestigious credentials available in the industry, and creates a solid foundation for future success.

What is an RHIA?

A Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) is a professional with various responsibilities related to the maintenance of medical records and attendant information.

Their primary goal is to ensure that this information is accessible, organized and maintained in accordance with laws and ethical standards. As an increasing amount of health information moves into digital formats, the duties of an RHIA will become as technical as they are administrative. Professionals are only allowed to use the title RHIA after earning certification from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

How Do You Become Certified?

It is possible to become certified at both the bachelor’s and master’s level. After earning a degree, an aspiring RHIA must pass a comprehensive exam encompassing 180 multiple choice questions. The exam covers topics related to the organization and management of health information, the ethics and laws related to health information, and the current and future technologies used in the field. To maintain certification, professionals must complete 30 hours of continuing education every 2 years.

What is a RHIA Master’s Program?

Before taking the test for certification, it is necessary to earn a master’s degree from an HIM program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). These programs have been carefully evaluated and found to provide a curriculum and level of education that meets the highest standards of the profession. The number of RHIA master’s programs has increased significantly in recent years, but the total is still limited compared to other professional disciplines. The best way to find an affordable and accessible option is to consult the CAHIIM website for a complete listing of accredited RHIA Master’s Programs.

How do I Get Accepted to a RHIA Master’s Program?

In most cases, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree in HIM, but there are exceptions to this rule. If your undergraduate degree is in another field related to healthcare, management, or the sciences, you may be admitted to some programs. It is typically necessary to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) as well, and to submit an undergraduate transcript along with other supporting documents. The admission requirements vary widely, so be sure to investigate the details as early as possible to avoid unnecessary setbacks.

Why Attend a RHIA Master’s Program?

With new employment opportunities opening up across the country, skilled HIM professionals and administrators are increasingly becoming needed for the future of healthcare and it’s evolution to technology platforms. Attending a RHIA master’s program provides students, or those already working in the field who’d like to advance, with the skills and experiences they need to find success in the now and as future changes are made.

In addition to providing a solid educational background, a RHIA master’s program gives job seekers a distinct professional advantage. The demand for qualified HIM professional may be high, but the competition for the highest-paying and most prestigious positions is fierce. Earning a master’s degree displays a commitment to excellence and higher learning. Supplementing it with certification from the AHIMA displays an even greater level of drive and ambition. With this credential in hand, professionals are qualified for more  upper-level job opportunities. They are also in a better position to earn raises and promotions. Instead of starting at an entry-level rung, a RHIA master’s program allows professionals to start at the middle of the career ladder.

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